Coyotes have visited the Upper West Side on and off in recent years, but there’s been an apparent uptick in reported sightings in the past few months. The Central Park Police Precinct said on Twitter that they’ve lately been getting reports of coyotes in the park on a weekly basis, with sightings around Belvedere Castle (around 79th street) and elsewhere.
It’s important to note that this may simply be one coyote walking around and being seen by different people. We previously have posted shots of a coyote in the park near 82nd Street.
Indeed, the Park Department says it appears to be a lone coyote:
“We believe all 10 of the recent coyote sighting reports are about the same coyote that has been spending time in Central Park.
Our message to New Yorkers is: Keep calm and carry on! This coyote has been hanging out in Central Park for at least a year now. We have no reports of the coyote causing incidents or showing aggressive behavior.
While there has been a bump in reports of coyote sightings in Central Park lately, we have no reason to believe that the population in the park is growing.”
In the past, coyotes have sometimes walked on the street in the neighborhood, leading to some wild police chases. This fellow appears to be comfortable hanging out in the park.
The Parks Department is working with humans -— the wildest of animals —- to make sure they understand coyote behavior. “After coyotes were observed in Northern Central Park, our Wildlife Unit has been doing outreach in the surrounding areas to educate the public on coyotes and help to promote co-existence,” a parks spokesperson wrote. They’ll also be holding a “coyote co-existing outreach” at the Central Park Precinct Community Council meeting on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
The precinct meeting is generally held at precinct headquarters just off the 86th Street transverse road in Central Park starting at 7 p.m.
If you see a coyote, here are some tips:
- Do not feed coyotes. Keeping coyotes wild is the key to coexistence. Feeding coyotes can cause them to lose their natural hunting instincts and cause coyotes to associate humans with food.
- Observe and appreciate coyotes from a distance. Though they may look similar to dogs, coyotes are wild animals. The best way to ensure both your safety and the safety of the coyote is to keep your distance.
- Protect your pets. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside for safety. Do not allow your pets to play with or approach coyotes.
- Keep coyotes wary. If you are approached, make yourself look bigger by putting your arms up, and make loud noises until the coyote retreats.
And if you want to report a coyote (or other wildlife) sighting, the city has a page for that here.